Business and Economy

A field of sugar beets ready for harvesting
Matauw / Adobe Stock

The sugar beet harvest is underway across the Mountain West.

It’s a big industry that depends on accurate weather forecasts and a reliable workforce – both impacted by COVID-19. 

Urban traffic at night in downtown Boise, Idaho
Alden Skeie / Unsplash

Amid the economic downturn, Idaho and Utah have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

Interior of casino. There are numerous slot machines.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

For the first time since the pandemic began, Nevada’s unemployment rate dipped below the state’s Great Recession peak, dropping one percentage point to 13.2 percent for the month of August.

Darren J. Bradley / Shutterstock

Two states in the Mountain West have some of the country’s highest unemployment rates, including Nevada, which tops the nation. 

Una persona rellenando el censo de EE.UU. de 2020 en la pantalla de la computadora.
Oficina del censo de EE. UU.

La fecha límite para completar el Censo 2020 se acerca rápidamente y, según la oficina del censo de EE.UU., Nevada ya superó su tasa de autorespuesta del Censo 2010.

A person looking at a computer screen. They are getting ready to fill out the census online.
U.S. Census Bureau

The deadline to fill out the 2020 census is quickly approaching, and according to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada has surpassed its 2010 census self-response rate.

Main Street Gardnerville
Jasperdo / Flickr Creative Commons

Back in April, KUNR talked with multiple small businesses in Gardnerville about the early impacts of COVID-19 on their operations.

At that time, Lindsey Torres, the co-owner of Carson Valley Dental Arts, was concerned about being unable to treat non-emergency patients and not having enough hours for her employees. 

Quote from Alycia Tanner: I don't think it's going to look very pretty, we are going to have a lot more businesses closing doors. We're going to have empty buildings. The cute and adorable little retail shops are all going to disappear.
Jayden Perez / KUNR

Back in April, KUNR talked with Alycia Tanner, the owner of This and That Marketplace in Gardnerville, about the impact of COVID-19 on her business. This and That Marketplace is a retail location that hosts many small businesses selling a variety of home goods, along with refurbished furniture and other items.  Previously, Tanner expressed concern about low sales and declining foot traffic. KUNR’s Jayden Perez checked back in with Tanner to see what’s happened since then.

An image of a car with a sign that reads we can't work, we can't pay, cancel rent.
Christina LaFon

Elise Dantzler has been working in restaurants since she was 15. But, like many in her industry, she was laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That forced the 25-year-old Coloradan to rethink her living situation.

The front exterior of a residence. There are eviction notices posted on the home's front door.
Drew Tyre / Flickr Creative Commons

Millions of renters nationwide are at risk of eviction, and new data out of Nevada offers a sense of just how urgent the situation is as Congress debates another COVID-19 relief bill.

A family picking up plastic bags filled with food from a distribution site.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

The Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee unanimously approved more than $800,000 of emergency funding on July 14 for a federal program that could provide nearly $300 in meal assistance to each Nevada child who missed out on their free and reduced priced lunches as a result of school closures.

A row of houses along a street
Courtesy of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

After 27 months of continual decline, the number of Americans falling behind on their mortgage payments is on the rise.


The first time Mark Ritchie and Leah Hardy laid eyes on their new camper, it was after they'd bought it.

"It was like, 'Oh my God, it's tiny.' Which was great," Ritchie said recently while standing outside their home in Laramie, Wyo. "It made me feel actually more confident dragging it around. Because when I see people with giant trailers, I go, 'Thank God that's not me.'"

Governor Steve Sisolak is standing behind a podium during a press conference.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

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Gov. Steve Sisolak says he’ll propose furloughs of one day a month for state employees, as well as a freeze in merit salary raises and fewer than 50 layoffs to help address the state’s pandemic-related budget shortfall.

An image of a man fishing in a river.
Department of Interior

Most businesses in the outdoor recreation industry are seeing sales decline because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and 88% are reporting that they’ve had to lay off or furlough employees.

Mike Kazmierski standing at a podium.
Screenshot / EDAWN via Facebook

Editor's Note: Affinity Development Group will be opening an office in South Reno instead of relocating their corporate headquarters, which was stated in the original version of this story. Both the text and audio have been updated.

Three new companies are coming to Northern Nevada and will eventually hire for more than 300 jobs. 

Sign on casino door.
Ben Payne

Lee en español.

Gamblers can once again try their luck in Nevada, as casinos across the state begin reopening Thursday under 50% maximum occupancy, but as KUNR's Benjamin Payne reports, workers are concerned about safety. 

A state-by-state chart showing the various preparedness levels for each state government.
Moody's Analytics

Forty-two states are not prepared for a pandemic-induced recession. That’s the finding of a recent analysis from Moody’s Analytics. In the Mountain West, the prognosis isn’t as bad as it might seem at first.

An aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip at night.
Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Steve Sisolak announced Nevada’s path to phase 2 of reopening, which will begin on Friday, May 29. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano breaks down the details with News Director Michelle Billman.

A casino in Reno.
Brian Bahouth of the Sierra Nevada Ally

The Nevada Gaming Control Board is making final regulatory preparations to reopen casinos as soon as June 4. Our contributor Brian Bahouth with the Sierra Nevada Ally reports. 

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